[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] There's no Chicharito in Mexico's squad for the intercontinental playoffs. No Gio. There's no need to rehash the Vela debate because there are no foreign-based players in the Tri squad that Coach Miguel Herrera has picked for the series against New Zealand. The 23 players head into concentración Sunday for the games scheduled for Nov. 14 and Nov. 20.
Herrera's decision to go with a squad entirely comprised of players from the Mexico league -- including 10 from his own team, Club America -- is not a surprise.
Missing will be the likes of Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez, fixtures in the Mexico squad even though they have struggled to find any consistency in recent years in Europe. The absence of Andres Guardado is no surprise. He was dropped after the USA-Mexico in September. Goalie Guillermo Ochoa had been recalled for the final two qualifiers in October but had very shaky games. Carlos Vela has been the best of the Mexicans playing in Europe, but he has been at odds with the Mexican federation for several years.
The irony to Mexico' struggles -- two wins in 10 Hexagonal matches -- is that it has coincided with the flight of many young stars to Europe in the aftermath of Mexico's 2012 Olympic gold-medal performance.
But the European-based players aren't the only ones to get the boot. Five of the Mexican-based starters from Mexico's 2-0 loss to the USA have been dropped, leaving only goalie Jose de Jesus Corona and defender Hiram Mier in Herrera's squad -- and neither is expected to start.
Goalkeepers (3):Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Moises Muñoz (Club America)
Defenders (9):Rafael Marquez (Leon), Francisco Rodriguez (Club America), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Club America), Paul Aguilar (Club America), Miguel Layun (Club America), Edwin Hernandez (Leon), Adrian Aldrete (Club America), Miguel Herrera (Pachuca), Hiram Mier (Monterrey)
Midfielders (8):Rodrigo Salinas (Morelia), Juan Carlos Medina (Club America), Antonio Naelson 'Sinha' (Toluca), Carlos Pena (Leon), Luis Angel Mendoza (Club America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jesus Molina (Club America), Alonso Escoboza (Santos)
Forwards (3):Oribe Peralta (Santos), Raul Jimenez (Club America), Aldo de Nigris (Guadalajara)